American Airlines plane overshoots runway in Jamaica; injuries reported

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

An American Airlines Boeing 737-800
Image: abdallahh.

An American Airlines jetliner has overshot the runway at the airport in the Jamaican capital Kingston injuring at least 40 people.

The Boeing 737-800 jet overran the runway at Norman Manley International Airport late Tuesday as it was coming in for a landing during a heavy rainstorm. The plane went through a fence at the end of the runway and skidded over a roadway before coming to rest on a beach. There were no reports of any fatalities.

More than 150 people were on board the flight, flying as Flight 331, originated in Washington, D.C. at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport with a stop at Miami International Airport in Florida before heading to Kingston.

A spokesman for American Airlines says part of the plane's landing gear collapsed, and one engine on the right side came off the wing. The fuselage was split open and the jet came to rest metres from the Caribbean Sea.

One passenger, Pilar Abaurrea, described the landing in a telephone interview with the Associated Press, saying, "All of a sudden, when it hit the ground, the plane was kind of bouncing, someone said the plane was skidding and there was panic." Abaurrea also noted that the flight had encountered turbulence so severe that the drinks service was suspended three times and then cancelled completely.